State accountable for speed limits

Recently, Danny Watkins of Alto received a speeding ticket while traveling through Elida. He complained in a letter to the editor that Elida is, “…a speed trap” and that Elida’s police officers should, “…concentrate on enforcing the law.”

That’s precisely what they do.

Elida has two certified police officers to enforce laws, but their primary duty is public safety. They actively enforce the traffic laws.

Here’s why.

Highway 70 runs through the heart of our community. Our school and our park are just short walks from the highway. Most of our residents cross that busy highway every day.

With that potential danger, it’s imperative that the speed laws be enforced to help prevent a tragedy on the highway.

Now, let’s set the facts straight.

There is one speed change within the town limits, not three as Watkins alleges. Most of the time, the speed limit is 35 mph. During certain times on school days, the speed limit drops to 15 mph through the school zone.

There are no 65 mph signs, in or out of the community, as Watkins alleges. Going east out of Elida, there is a 45 mph sign about a quarter of a mile from the last 35 mph sign; it’s another 100 yards before the speed increases to 55 mph. The speed returns to highway speed of 70 mph about a half-mile from there.

Was Watkins unfairly stopped and ticketed? No, but if he feels that way, he should contact his state representatives. Why? Elida doesn’t establish the speed limit in the town, or determine where the signs are, or set what the speeding fines are. The New Mexico state government, specifically, the Department of Transportation, decides where the signs will be placed and what the speed limit is. Elida doesn’t have a voice in those decisions.

Elida must enforce those laws. We face loss of state funding or legal action if we don’t.

Watkins is entitled to have his day in court. I will be happy to hear his case. I urge him to call the Elida Municipal Court to set up a hearing. It can all be handled by telephone.

Watkins says he doesn’t want to pay what he calls, “…a deplorable form of revenue.”

I have a simple solution:

Pay attention, obey the laws and don’t speed.

You’ll never have to pay another speeding ticket.